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CDC Study Links Noisy Workplaces to Cardiovascular Disease

by Carol Polovoy

People with elevated cholesterol levels and blood pressure might want to consider their noisy work setting as a possible contributor.
A study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published this month in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine associates high cholesterol and high blood pressure with loud noise at the workplace, according to an article in Corporate Wellness Magazine.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease—the leading cause of death in the United States. The study found that 25 percent of current workers have been exposed to work-related noise. The results also noted that:
• 12 percent of the workers experienced hearing difficulty, 58 percent of which can be attributed to occupational noise exposure.
• 24 percent of the workers developed high blood pressure, 14 percent of which can be attributed to occupational noise exposure.
• 28 percent of the workers had high cholesterol levels, 9 percent of which can be attributed to occupational noise exposure.
“A significant percentage of the workers we studied have hearing difficulty, high blood pressure and high cholesterol that could be attributed to noise at work,” study co-author Liz Masterson says in the Corporate Wellness Magazine article. “If noise could be reduced to safer levels in the workplace, more than 5 million cases of hearing difficulty among noise-exposed workers could potentially be prevented. This study provides further evidence of an association of occupational noise exposure with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and the potential to prevent these conditions if noise is reduced.”

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